The Oregon State Beavers are poised for their home opener this Saturday against Louisville. Believe it or not, coming off a loss to #4 TCU must have given the Beavs confidence. Until a high snap over the head of quarterback Ryan Katz, the Black and Orange were ready to tie up the game.
Despite an opening week loss, OSU still finds themselves in the AP Top 25, and a blowout win of the struggling Cardinals program could do wonders for the hype entering the Boise State game on September 25 on the blue turf.
While the TCU defense shut down a Beavers offense looking for an identity, look for the offense to come together against a weaker foe on the turf in Corvallis.
Jacquizz Rodgers will likely see more touches against Louisville, with more success. While the Cardinals' defense has been stingy through two games this season, they were beat by the ground game of Kentucky and allowed far too many yards on the ground to Eastern Kentucky in their not-so-convincing 23-13 victory.
Kentucky rushed for 230 yards and averaged 6.2 yards per rush against the weak Louisville defensive line and linemen core. With a speedy back like Rodgers handing the bulk of the running game for Oregon State, expect Rodgers and the Beavs to rack up close to 200 yards.
The other major concern for Louisville is the amount of penalties they racked up against Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky. Louisville racked up 100 penalty yards against Eastern Kentucky and looked disjunctive in the offensive line.
For Oregon State, head coach Mike Riley will have to find the appropriate balance between run and pass. It appeared he leaned too heavily on the inexperienced Katz against TCU after the Horned Frogs initially shut down Jacquizz. Katz had 25 pass attempts and only completed nine, while Rodgers was held under 20 carries.
Additionally, Jacquizz's older brother James was a non-factor, another sign Riley was uneasy using the normal play-calling. James was held under 100 yards receiving, and wasn't included in the running scheme.
It would be foolhardy to think the Beavers' defense will give much to Louisville. TCU has one of the most dynamic offenses in the country, and the Cardinals fail in comparison.
Overall, these teams just don't match up well. Oregon State has too many weapons and the the Louisville Cardinals still need a few more rebuilding seasons to compete with elite schools. The Beavers should start the home schedule off right against Louisville, and a blowout would really help their national ranking.
Catch the Beavers and Cardinals in action this Saturday, September 18 at 2:30 pm PST on Fox Sports local coverage.